Dr. Mounira Banasr is an Independent Scientist in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH, and leads the preclinical unit of the Neurobiology of Depression and Aging Program. She is also an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Banasr received her PhD in neuroscience from the University of Sciences of Luminy, France, in 2004. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University in one of the top psychiatry departments in the world, in the laboratory of Dr. Ronald Duman, where she became a Junior Scientist in 2008.

Our Research Focus

Our lab employs translational approaches that consist in investigating the neurobiology of chronic stress in mice to identify the biological mechanisms underlying stress-related illnesses including mood and anxiety disorders. Our research combines behavior, molecular and imaging approaches to study the consequences of chronic stress. Relevance of our findings is validated, when possible, in human cohorts. The ultimate goal of our work is to identify new targets for antidepressant development.

Meet the team

Team Publication List

Banasr, M., Sanacora, G., Esterlis, I (2021). Macro- and Microscale Stress-Associated Alterations in Brain Structure: Translational Link with Depression. Biological Psychiatry (accepted).

Misquitta, K.A., Miles, A., Prevot, T.D, Knoch J.K., Fee, C., Newton, D.F., Ellegood, J, Lerch, J.P, Sibille, E, Nikolova, Y.S. Banasr, M. (2021). Reduced anterior cingulate cortex volume induced by chronic stress correlates with increased behavioral emotionality and decreased synaptic puncta density. Neuropharmacology (accepted).

Fee, C., Prevot, T.D., Misquitta, K.A., Knutson, D., Li, G., Cook, J., Banasr, M., Sibille, E. (2021). Behavioral Deficits Induced by Somatostatin-Positive GABA Neuron Silencing Are Rescued by Alpha 5 GABA-A Receptor Potentiation. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol.

Fee, C., Prevot, T., Misquitta, K., Banasr, M., Sibille, E., 2020. Chronic Stress-induced Behaviors Correlate with Exacerbated Acute Stress-induced Cingulate Cortex and Ventral Hippocampus Activation. Neuroscience 440, 113-129.

Prevot, T. D., Misquitta, K. A., Fee, C., Newton, D. F., Chatterjee, D., Nikolova, Y. S., … & Banasr, M. (2019). Residual avoidance: A new, consistent and repeatable readout of chronic stress-induced conflict anxiety reversible by antidepressant treatment. Neuropharmacology153, 98-110.

Nikolova, Y. S., Misquitta, K. A., Rocco, B. R., Prevot, T. D., Knodt, A. R., Ellegood, J., … & Banasr, M. (2018). Shifting priorities: highly conserved behavioral and brain network adaptations to chronic stress across species. Translational psychiatry8(1), 1-13.

Chowdhury, G. M., Zhang, J., Thomas, M., Banasr, M., Ma, X., Pittman, B., … & Behar, K. L. (2017). Transiently increased glutamate cycling in rat PFC is associated with rapid onset of antidepressant-like effects. Molecular psychiatry22(1), 120-126.

Sanacora, G., & Banasr, M. (2013). From pathophysiology to novel antidepressant drugs: glial contributions to the pathology and treatment of mood disorders. Biological psychiatry73(12), 1172-1179.

Banasr, M., Chowdhury, G. M. I., Terwilliger, R., Newton, S. S., Duman, R. S., Behar, K. L., & Sanacora, G. (2010). Glial pathology in an animal model of depression: reversal of stress-induced cellular, metabolic and behavioral deficits by the glutamate-modulating drug riluzole. Molecular psychiatry15(5), 501-511.

And more on Google Scholar!

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